Music video by Bruce Springsteen performing War. (C) 1986 Bruce Springsteen
"War" is a soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song — a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest — with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release "War" as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, deciding to withhold the Temptations' version so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr's version of "War" was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. Its power was reasserted when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took their rendition into the U.S. Top 10 in 1986.